Direct Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are the primary form of federal aid available to graduate students. Direct Unsubsidized Loans accrue interest during the grace period and during periods of deferment, and the borrower is responsible for paying this interest. Payments on Direct Unsubsidized Loans may be deferred while the borrower is enrolled in an eligible program at least half-time (six credits); however, the interest on deferred Direct Unsubsidized Loans will be capitalized (added to the principal balance). Repayment of Direct Unsubsidized Loans begins at the end of the grace period. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are non-need-based loans and most borrowers qualify for them.

Direct Plus Loans

Direct PLUS for graduate students loans are available to eligible students to help cover the cost of attendance not covered by Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Direct PLUS Loans accrue interest throughout the life of the loans, and the borrower is responsible for paying this interest. Payments on Direct PLUS Loans originated after July 1, 2008 may be deferred while the borrower is enrolled in an eligible program at least half-time (six credits); however, the interest on deferred Direct PLUS Loans will be capitalized. The federal government does not offer a grace period for Direct PLUS Loans, and repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed since there is no grace period. Direct PLUS Loans may be eligible for an in-school deferment that allows postponement of payments until graduation or after the borrower drops below half-time enrollment status. Direct PLUS loans are awarded based on a student’s Borrower Based Academic Year (BBAY) and are paid in 3 equal disbursements, one for each term in the BBAY.

Loan Limits for Graduate/Professional Degree Students

Graduate students cannot borrow federal funds in excess of the amounts outlined below. For questions, please contact the ATOM Financial Aid Office by email or by phone (954)763-9840 x215. Students who are eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans may borrow up to the maximum total.

Time Period Maximum Loan Amount
Academic Year (three terms at ATOM) $20 500 Direct Unsubsidized loans (if eligible)
Aggregate Loan Limit (Maximum total debt from Direct Loans) $65.500 Direct Subsidized Loans* + $73 000 Direct Unsubsidized Loans $138 500 Maximum Total Direct Loan Debt

* Please note that, effective July 1, 2012, the federal government is no longer offering subsidized loans for graduate/professional degree students.

Direct PLUS Loan Limits

The amount a student may borrow in Direct PLUS Loans is determined by taking the difference between the student’s Cost of Attendanceand any other financial aid the student receives (e.g. Scholarships and Direct Unsubsidized Loans), as explained below.

Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance (COA) is the average amount of money needed to cover costs related to attending ATOM for one academic year (three terms). This cost includes tuition and fees, books, and supplies, living expenses, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Estimates of living expenses are updated annually, and are drawn from US Census Bureau estimates of cost of living in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The cost of tuition is based on the average enrollment of students enrolled full-time in ATOM’s Master’s program.

Financial Need and Packaging

A student’s financial need is determined by subtracting the EFC from the COA. This number is used as the basis of eligibility for need-based financial aid, like Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Work Study. The Financial Aid Office packages Direct Subsidized Loans first (depending on the student’s eligibility), followed by Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Work Study, and Direct PLUS Loans. The difference between the Direct Subsidized Loan award and the total Direct Loan limit for graduate/ professional degree students ($20,500) may be covered by unsubsidized loans, if the student elects to borrow these funds. Students must recertify for financial aid each three-term BBAY, and may make changes to their aid selections at this time.


Interest Rates and Origination Fees

Federal Direct Student Loans 2014-2015 Interest Rates Effective for Loans First Disbursed on or after July 1,2014 and prior to July 1,2015

Loan Type Borrower Type Fixed Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 4.66%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 4.66%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate/Professional Students 6.21%
Direct PLUS Loans Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students and Graduate/Professional Students 7.21%
For any loan disbursement for a loan where the first disbursement is/will be… The origination fee percentage for Direct Subsidized and Direct The origination fee percentage for Direct PLUS Loans is…
Before 7/1/2013 1.0% 4.0%
On or after 7/1/2013 and before 12/1/2013 1.051% 4.204%
On or after 12/1/2013 and before 10/1/2014 1.072% 4.288%
On or after 10/1/2014 and before 10/1/2015 1.073% 4.292%

*An origination fee is assessed on all federal Direct Loans. The fee is deducted from the total loan funds requested by the students before the funds are disbursed to the student.

Please contact in the Financial Aid Office for more information.